Ciera Swaringen was born with Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus, which covers the body in hundreds of large birthmarks.
The condition, which affects one person in 500,000, meant that Ciera would be especially vulnerable to malignant melanoma. Growing up in North Carolina, she couldn’t play outside in the sun like other children.
While she was growing up, other kids would taunt her about her appearance. “One day I remember being on the school bus and hearing a young boy laugh at me and call me a spotty dog,” she said.
But all that bullying hasn’t stopped from embracing and loving herself. “Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
Ciera, now 19-years-old, is trying to spread her positive message and confidence with others like herself. She recently found an online community of people with the same condition and plans to attend a meeting conference with them.